For Jerry Selwane (44), going above and beyond the call of duty to protect defenceless animals is a no-brainer.
Selwane is a former SPCA inspector who now runs his own animal rehabilitation centre, the Soweto Animal Rescue and Advisory Centre (SARAC), from his Zuurbekom home, South of Johannesburg, which he established in 2011.
He has many kennels full of healthy dogs that he rescued from negligent owners, he has hectares of space he intends to put to good use in the future.
It is all part of his dream to give back through education and prosecute those who disregard animal rights.
His dream is to turn a part of his home into a fully fledged animal clinic, while continuing with his plans to run a mobile clinic so that he can take his work to communities in and around Soweto.
There was the time when Selwane got hold of a YouTube video where a man was beating up his goat for the supposed “crime” of eating his maize crops. Selwane did not see this viral video as just another video. Armed with his best private investigative skills, acquired through years of practice, he went out of his way to find and apprehend the man who had shown terrible cruelty to an animal.
“I could not sit and fold my arms. I drove 600km to Tonga and spoke to the person who had posted the video. After a few phone calls, l finally tracked down the person responsible for the worst form of animal abuse.”
With the help of the police, Selwane was able to apprehend the culprit, who was charged, and later fined and told to apologise for his behaviour.
Not one to wait for hand-outs, Selwane continues educating young people about caring for animals.
He has recruited his wife and three sons to spread the word. But his other soldiers are young people who constantly keep an eye out for lost and neglected animals in their communities. He calls these spirited soldiers Jerry’s Rangers, and says teaching young people about animal care is more immediately effective than rehabilitating older minds about the importance of taking care of animals.
For their efforts in reporting animal neglect and abuse, Jerry’s Rangers are rewarded with colouring books, pens and pencils.
“While it is important to reform old habits through speaking, teaching and motivating older people, there is no greater comfort than teaching young people, as they are the future and receptive to new information – more than old people who are set in their ways.”
His vision is to educate and change people’s attitudes towards animals by teaching the young the value of animal care, and making them aware of how wrong it is to be cruel to those without a voice.
For those who want to report animal abuse or make donations, Selwane can be contacted via telephone on 084 9119 459, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also report abuse using Sarac’s Facebook page. Visit facebook.com/saracsoweto